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Hi all!

I've got one heck of a situation coming up and I'd like some feedback from the this board on what the best thing in the world for me to do is.

Here's the scoop. I am a full-time employee at Saint Louis University. I've been working here for going on four years now, and am darn happy about it. Since I work in a university, I decided that it would be a smart thing to start going to graduate school. I never thought I would, never thought I'd have the opportunity, but here I am. I love it, despite the late night papers.

So here's how this relates to my taxes. As it stands, I get tuition remission since I am a univerity employee. That's a great thing at $670 per credit. As the federal government now has this whole thing set up (weighted for the price of graduate school, etc.) I get a total of 8 & 2/3 credits paid for by the university tax free. (I dunno why it is 8 & 2/3 since most classes are 3 credits, so 9 would have been a more appropriate number...but this is the government's tax code for ya!) After that, I have to pay taxes on the benefit.

I am finishing up my six credit semester right now. (Hurray for me!) I have one make up class to take this summer for three credits. That will put me over the limit by 2/3 of a credit. This coming fall I am taking another two classes for six credits, which will all be over the tax-free limit.

The way this works is that they add the cost of the classes to my paycheck, spread over three months and then the fed, the state, and Saint Louis City will all come in and tax the hell out of it. There's the rub!!

SLU runs on a fiscal year July to June, so the numbers I am going to present are from last year. There will be a very small pay increase this year (maybe), but with the cost of health insurance going up, I will honestly not see any extra monies in my pocket (and may actually take home less).

Here's the numbers for last year:
Gross pay: $36,636.78

St. Lou.....$329.58
Tax Rate is: 22.21%

Other Deductions (Annual):
Insurance: $372.36
403(b): $3,705.72

Annual Net: $24,813.00

Regarding school to my paycheck they will add:
Summer: $233.33 for that one-third of a credit.
Fall: $4020 for six credits, spread over 3 months is $1340 a month.

Anyway, it will boost my Annual Gross Pay to $40,890.11...but they take it all in three months.....

In Aug, Sept. & Oct. my monthly gross paycheck will be $4,393.06....and then come the tax vultures.

Now, naturally I have rent to pay, food to buy, etc. So is there anything I can definately do now to save on these taxes? I am single, and LBMM as best as I can manage. I thought about changing my W-4 to two deductions for a couple months to get over the hump in the fall and pay the monies I will owe next April. I don't know how good of an idea that really is.

This is not all bad news of course, because with the extra monies that look like they are going into my paycheck, both my contributions and SLU contributions to my 403(b) will go up for that period. Of course that only helps down the road, not the immediate future.

I am donating a lot of stuff to charity, including my old car with a Blue Book of about $2k, as well as a bunch of other stuff too. That might help later on. Plus I am taking 2 trips on school related business, one in May and one in November which will also help offset the taxes in some way too, I think.

Any ideas?

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You are renting which means you do not have real estate or mortgage interest for deductions. Unfortunately, this means that the charitable deductions may not be of value. Itemized deductions must exceed your standard deduction to have any effect on your taxes. Your state taxes, unreimbursed job expenses, and any personal property tax are also itemized deductions.

I am not sure of the rules on educational deductions. There are Hope and Lifetime learning credits. It maybe that upto $3,000 would qualify for an educational deduction. Check the 1040 instructions for line 26. Others will probably have a better answer.

Are you paying for the school related business trips? Unreimbursed employee expenses and work related educational expenses (amount not claimed for other educational credit) may qualify as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. The amount over 2% of your income is included as an itemized deductions.

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Any ideas?

Look at the definition of qualified educational expenses to see if you qualify for a lifetime learning credit on anything. Credit is better than deduction. (I apologize for not posting links but I don't have the time to find them at the moment - the search at really works well, though)

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